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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Website: pulsemarketingagency.com

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The never-ending evolution of the marketing environment

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There have been many changes in the marketing industry during the past decade. These changes are rapid and demanding, meaning that marketers are continually running to catch up with the evolving environment. Just this week, for example, 'Mashable' published an article about Facebook's latest pitch to convince marketers that click-though rates are irrelevant, and that reach and frequency are more important. Another article from 'Search Engine Land' discusses the death of SEO. At the same time, 'Fast Company's' October issue featured an article by Wendy Marx commenting on the need to change from promotion to education marketing. These are only a few examples of the current challenges that B2B marketers are facing the list is in fact a lot longer.

The nature and speed of marketing evolution provides marketers and business owners with both opportunities and challenges. For one, there are more marketing channels than ever but there is also an overwhelming amount of data. Further complicating matters, there aren't any books or workshops out there to provide us with the latest and greatest studies and proven techniques, because by the time they are either published or delivered, some of the information is already bound to be obsolete.

So, how should we conduct business in the face of all this rapid transformation? The same as usual.

The fact is, whether you are a business owner or a marketer, you'll want to see a measurable return from your marketing activities. I can't simply tell my clients that social media marketing is impossible to measure, or compare it with traditional media such as TV ads or press releases (as Scott Monty, Ford's global digital/multimedia communications manager, argues ) because it is not traditional media, and it can (should) be measurable. Until there is sufficient research and data to prove that click-throughs are not a good metric for online marketing, and that there is a better and proven way to measure campaign effectiveness, I cannot justify disregarding them as a metric.

There was a time in my career when my non-profit employer in Massachusetts had a $1 million marketing budget, including plenty of funds for transit ads in the subway, as well as year-round billboards on Interstate 93 and the MassPike. We never truly knew how many people saw or cared for those ads in fact, we only had a rough estimate and yet we spent a bundle on them. However, B2B marketing has changed tremendously since the late '90s. We have become heavily dependent on the internet to do business and the beauty of online business is that it can be measured.

I have similar feelings about the discussions surrounding the death of SEO (which has been a popular topic for more than a decade now) and of educational marketing. I need more studies and verifiable data before I jump on either bandwagon. Perhaps I am not that trendy for doing so, but when dealing with clients' money, and consequently the success of their business, I think we can all agree that it is prudent to be a bit conservative.

My suggestion to all fellow marketers and small business owners wearing marketing hats is to keep yourselves well-informed through verifiable sources, including your own metrics, before making any drastic changes in the way you conduct your marketing activities. The amount of information out there is truly overwhelming, and there is a very good chance that is your current strategies are just fine.

Cntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.

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